You don’t have to be animated to put on a good show. I mean, one of the best shows I’ve ever seen was Ray LaMontagne and he’s hardly what you’d consider animated (although he was much funnier than I thought he’d be).
Sometimes, though, it’s all about the energy, and rock band Cage the Elephant had that in spades when I saw them at the Paradise Rock Club last night. This show was a fucking messy, sweaty, aggro rock show-a chance for the weekend warriors to let off some Friday night steam.
I’d actually seen CTE a year before at Cafe 939, a little room by the Berklee campus that might hold 100 people. Nevertheless, the band performed like there were 10,000 folks there-climbing shit, jumping into the audience-the whole 9. In the year since, the band has had two hits with “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” and “Back Against the Wall” (currently the #1 song on Alternative Rock radio in the country) and they’re dressing a little better (they’ve lost a bumpkin point or two), but the energy has not dimmed.
Lead singer Matt Shultz screamed and growled and jumped around the stage with his blond mop flopping, looking like a demented Muppet, while his brother Brad seemed completely possessed by his guitar (and it looked like he was playing it with a closed fist, which had to hurt). Of course, half the fun of going to a show is watching the audience. In this case, it was a mix of college kids and older classic-rock dudes. Definitely more of a meat and potatoes rock show than the usual indie hipster fare they serve at the Dise.
All in all, a great show. Check out some live footage from the BBC below. This is the band at about 15% of the energy they had last night. I guess in this performance, the stage was wet, and if Matt went crazy like he usually does, he might have busted his ass on stage and knocked out a couple of teeth. Still, it’s good stuff.